Perspectives On America’s Pain Problem; Defending Data Sharing
Opinion and editorial writers offer their thoughts on a range of health topics.
Why Are We In So Much Pain?
There are more than 100 million people in chronic pain in the United States. The rate of providing healing is hardly successful. Microglia, the ever-vigilant guardian cells of the central nervous system (CNS), are now providing a clue as to why some of us stay sick and fail to recover. Microglia are thin, thread-like immune cells responsible for collecting debris and pathogens in the brain. They become active in response to any number of stressors on the body, and when properly regulated, secrete inflammatory chemicals that allow for harmful bacteria to be killed, and for healing to occur. (Gary Kaplan, 10/31)
In Defense Of Data Sharing, But Done In The Right Way
Someday, researchers doing a cardiovascular trial could easily share their data with others conducting trials on cancer, kidney disease, or even schizophrenia and learn something that hadn’t been known before. These insights may help us design clinically informative trials that are not being misled by false relationships among the data. The problem is that we are in the early stage of the data-sharing process and there are not many examples of insights that have evolved from it. (Jeffrey Drazen and Isaac Kohane, 10/31)
The Columbus Dispatch:
EMS Mergers Make Sense
Local governments — that is to say, local taxpayers — need to stretch every dollar these days, yet redundant services and duplicate costs continue to burden central Ohioans through overlapping city, county and township fire and emergency medical services. Until now, it’s been hard to pin down the cost of multiple emergency-medical services. But this past week, a Delaware County commissioner released an analysis that showed merging the region’s six independent EMS operations — five operated by townships and one by the city — with the existing county-run EMS would save taxpayers at least $17 million. (11/1)
Kansas City Star:
Medical Theater: The NFL Hopes You Trust Its Inadequate Concussion Test
The NFL, in its own protocol, says that athletes with concussions can pass the tests partly because, by definition, the in-game testing is brief. To put it as plainly as possible: Doctors using this test to determine whether a man has a concussion cannot know whether that man has a concussion. But off he goes anyway, back into the violent chaos of an NFL game, his potentially damaged brain made more vulnerable to what has been scientifically shown to be exponentially worse damage. (Sam Mellinger, 10/31)
British Vs. American Health Care, Through One Trainee Doctor's Eyes
I spent my school years and college in Massachusetts and attended medical school in Poland, the country of my parents. But I trained as a doctor in England. I completed the British equivalent of medical residency in internal medicine in London, and lived there until I came to Boston in August. I returned home to view the provision of health care in the United States through Earl Grey-tinted glasses that make some aspects of our system particularly shocking and others particularly impressive. (Martin Kaminski, 10/31)
Colorado Officials Politely Ask Arizona's Anti-Marijuana Group To Stop Lying
According to the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, a group of elected officials from Colorado has sent a letter to the leaders of the anti-Proposition 205 group disputing the information (or misinformation) touted in the anti-marijuana campaign of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy. The letter was sent to Seth Leibsohn and Sheila Polk, leaders of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, by Colorado Sen. Pat Steadman and Reps. Millie Hamner and Jonathan Singer. I'll let you read it and decide. (EJ Montini, 10/31)